When a real estate broker competes for a prospective home listing, the process can be demanding, exhilarating and frustrating. The real estate agent has to perform some degree of market analysis and prepare a presentation, knowing full well that all that effort may be for naught. Competing on a level playing field is one thing, but what do you do when a competing agent offers to reduce his or her commission to win the listing?

At least marketing real estate services has a commonly recognized standard for setting commissions. But pricing home inspection services has no such guideline, forcing one to intuit ‘the going rate’ plus the home inspectors adjust quotes based on the age and size of the property. There is always the prospect of being undersold by Cheap Charlie, and even some real estate brokers pressure them to lower their rates to what they lead their client to expect or budget.

When the prospective client turns the table on the real estate agent, daring to reduce the commission or lose the listing, the home inspectors know what it’s like. They develop responses and arguments for why it is in no one’s interest to discount and hence devalue the services. But I have also come across arguments developed by a long-standing successful realtor and I am happy to share them here with you.

It is critical to anticipate. You may have driven up to the house you are hoping to list, thinking about your presentation, when the owner greets you with the news of the other real estate agent lowering his commission. You are now presented with a choice and you have to be ready to respond instantly. The choice is between matching the reduction and convincing the homeowner to list with you at full commission.

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Don’t fall into the trap of a commodity mentality. You can never win if all the focus is on price. Believe in your worth and emphasize to the homeowner all the extra value you bring. I am talking about much more than the special incentives you may have in your toolbox such as a deal on a home warranty. This is about not sacrificing profit. View selling real estate as the business it is and then treat it that way.

Sample Subjective Arguments

Now let’s look at sample arguments. They appeal to reason more or less subjectively without having to provide technical supporting evidence. But for those real estate agents with outstanding track records, these arguments are likely to be more persuasive.

Argument 1

‘It is understandable why you would want to go with that realtor, but did you happen to ask how many listings he has right now? Some real estate agents mainly want to use your listing to pick up sign and advertising calls. But as your listing agent, my aim will be to get your home sold rather than to leverage it for my benefit.’

Argument 2

‘That’s great so long as that real estate agent can provide the same service I provide for less, but he can’t. Ask yourself why anyone would be willing to work for less. Could they be desperate? It may be a sign of poor business management skills. If so, do you really want them managing your biggest investment? Doesn’t it make more sense to go with a true expert who will protect the equity in your property?’

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